Carolyn’s Corner – February 2015

How Atlas of Living Australia helped us!  We got a tip off about a “new” plant called lemon beauty-heads (aka Calocephalus citreus). However I could not find it on my own, so the group decided to get help from Atlas of Living Australia (ALA, www.ala.org.au) a collaborative resource from CSIRO and 16 partners. ALA informed us that the plant was “On slopes of coast reserve 300 m N of Cape Jervis lighthouse”. Imagine our surprise when we stopped not far from the top and Liz asked “is this it”? Sure was, and we have photos to prove it!

ALA shows a clickable dot on a map of Australia for every plant specimen collected by the major botanical gardens, citizen scientists and others. It also contains info about animal, insects & microbes.

Photos C. Schultz: Liz taking photos, Lemon beauty-heads

 

Next get together, 7 & 8  Feb 2015. Training & cake provided.

We welcome new volunteers.  Contact Carolyn Schultz 0423 213 481.

Plant of the Month – February 2015

LEMON BEAUTY-HEADS

(Calocephalus citreus)

 

(Photos: E. Cousins; habit, side view, flower close-up; Cape Jervis)

The clumps of this plant that we have seen around Cape Jervis grow to about 20-30cm high. They look silvery-grey, possibly because of the small, white hairs on the leaves and stems. Stems themselves are slender, wiry and upright, growing in a tuft from the base. Narrow leaves are arranged opposite each other along the stems; they get progressively smaller the closer they get to the top. Between September and March, you’ll notice the lemon beauty heads themselves, sitting at the top of the plants: golden globe-like clusters of flowers, to 14mm long in total. Although lemon beauty heads don’t appreciate heavy disturbance such as urban development, grazing stock, or fertilizer use, they would make an excellent rockery plant: they require little watering, tolerate full sun or part shade and most soil conditions, are fast growing, long lived, and very hardy!          (See Carolyn’s Corner in Cape Jervis Courier for a story about our trip to find these locally.)

Weed of the Month – February 2015

COASTAL TEA TREE

( Leptospermum laevigatum )

 

     

(Photos: http://anpsa.org.au/l-lae.html http://www.friendsofqueensparkbushland.org.au/wp-content/gallery/leptospermum-laevigatum/leptospermum-laevigatum-g3.jpg)

Tolerant of most soil types, and resistant to salt spray, this large, bushy shrub is grown in gardens along the coast… to about 5m tall, and with its greyish foliage, it can look quite attractive. However, although native to south-eastern coasts of Australia, in S.A. is now classed as an environmental weed. Identify it by grey-green, oval-shaped leaves (up to 30mm long) and white flowers. The 5-petalled flowers are round, with lots of little stamens around the centre (see photo above). The thin bark on older branches is quite stringy. Also, the fruits (seed capsules) of this tea tree have 6-11 compartments, distinguishing it from most other tea trees (maximum of 6). Why tea tree? Apparently early settlers used the leaves of some species as a substitute for tea leaves.